100 new urban farmers reap the fruits of their 3-month training
By JULIO P. YAP, JR.
AT least 100 new urban farmers were produced after completing a three-month comprehensive training course provided by the Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC) and Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) Farm School in the Bacoor, Cavite-Las Piñas City boundary.
“Today, your dedication and efforts have paid off. You are harvesting – literally and figuratively, the fruits of your training,” Senator Cynthia Villar told the trainees during their recent graduation ceremonies at the Villar SIPAG Farm School compound.
The harvest of their crops and the certificates of training proved that the trainees completed the three-month comprehensive course.
“As I mentioned during the start of the training, you are all lucky to have participated because you will gain new knowledge on agriculture and technologies on modern machineries from the trainors of Allied Botanical Corporation,” Villar said.
During the 12 weekly sessions, the participants were trained on the proper way of planting through lessons in modern farming methods and technologies.
The training sessions also included values formation, capability building and social entrepreneurship.
“ABC is the only 100-percent Filipino-owned seed company with a Research and Development (R&D) program. So, we are really thankful to them for sharing their expertise and technology, especially their time and effort,” Villar pointed out.
For his part, ABC President Michael Caballes said that this is just part of the company’s commitment to put premium in investing on the education of the youth and the protection of the country’s natural resources.
“We all share Allied Botanical’s aim, ‘to propel the Filipino farmer to become globally competitive in the 21st century,” Senator Villar added.
“As a senator, farmers’ education and training is part of my legislative agenda,” she stressed,” she said.
“We want the farmers and their families, as well as farming enthusiasts and people like you, to learn about the latest methods, processes, and technologies,” Villar added.
The new urban farmers came from the cities of Taguig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Cavite, and from the municipality of Pateros in Metro Manila.
She is optimistic that the graduates would be able to apply to their daily lives what they have learned during the brief but very valuable training.
“As the current chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, we are exerting all our efforts to uplift the lives of the farmers and fisherfolk in the country,” she said.
Villar believes that providing access and opportunities, like training and education, could be an effective method to give the Filipino farmers and fisherfolk a competitive advantage.
HARVESTING THE FRUIT OF LABOUR
Following the graduation ceremony, the graduates, together with Villar, Caballes, and representatives from the ABC, harvested the different varieties of lettuce and vegetables which the trainees sowed and cultivated using Condor quality seeds.
The trainees excitedly harvested the different varieties of lettuce like the Tyrol (Romaine-Midi Cos), Green Wave (Batavia), Carlo Rossa (Standard Red), NRBL 2 (Triple Red), Grande (Iceberg), Green Frillice (Batavia), and Green Towers (Romaine-Large Cos) which are all very prolific.
The graduates also had the opportunity to harvest the different varieties of herbs which they also planted at the urban farm.
“Providing our farmers with the opportunity to learn from the best, and at no cost to them, is one way of helping our food producers improve their yield, and increase their income,” Villar said.
The participants were also provided with opportunities to create market linkages, which will enable them to sell their produce.
“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with various groups and organizations to provide our farmers with training programs and workshops throughout the year. I expect to see more people becoming interested in farming as we spread the word that we have an urban farm school which is offering free and quality training programs,” she said.